DTF Printing FAQ
What is DTF?
DTF (Direct-to-Film) is a printing process that print an image onto a DTF film (Pre-Treat film) before applying it to garments or other materials.
DTF printing is popular for its ability to produce detailed designs and vibrant colors on various materials, including dark and textured fabrics made of cotton, polyester, or poly blends including t-shirts, jerseys, caps, pants, shoes, canvas bags, masks and more.
How DTF Works?
- Design Preparation: Open your image using DTF RIP software. The design is then color-separated and optimized for printing.
- Printing: DTF printer uses specialized fabric ink to print the design directly onto a DTF film. The printer typically uses WCMYK (White, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) inks.
- Powder Application: After printing, a layer of DTF powder is applied to the printed design. This powder bonds with the ink and helps the design adhere to the garment during the heat transfer process.
- Curing: The printed film, now coated with adhesive powder, is passed through a curing unit or use heat press or oven. This step dries the ink and melts the powder, creating a transferable design.
- Transfer: The cured DTF transfer is then placed onto the garment or material, with the design side facing down. Using a heat press or iron, heat and pressure are applied to transfer the design from the film onto the material.
- Cooling and Peeling: After the heat transfer, the material is allowed to cool for a few seconds. Once cooled, the film is carefully peeled away, leaving the design permanently bonded to the material.
- Final touch: A final heat press or ironing step can be done to ensure a smooth finish and better durability.
Why DTF is better than DTG?
While both DTF (Direct-to-Film) and DTG (Direct-to-Garment) printing offer high quality results for garment decoration, there are several reasons why DTF may be considered better than DTG in certain situations:
- Versatility: DTF can print on a wider range of materials, including light, dark, textured and 100% cotton, synthetic, blend fabrics. DTG, on the other hand, works best with 100% cotton and may have limited effectiveness on synthetic materials or uneven surfaces.
- Color Vibrancy: DTF prints typically have more vibrant and vivid colors than DTG prints, thanks to the white ink underbase that enhances color brightness. This is especially important when printing on dark garments, where DTG prints may appear more muted.
- Print Durability: DTF transfers often have better washability and durability compared to DTG prints. The adhesive powder in DTF creates a strong bond between the ink and the fabric, resulting in prints that last longer even after multiple washes.
- Lower Ink Cost: DTF printing generally uses less ink per print compared to DTG, which can result in cost savings, especially for larger production runs.
- No Pre-Treatment Required: DTG printing requires pre-treating garments with a special solution to ensure ink adhesion and prevent color fading. This step is not necessary for DTF printing.
- Easier Storage and Transport: Since DTF prints are created on a film, they can be easily stored and transported before being applied to garments. This can be beneficial for businesses that need to print designs in advance or ship transfers to customers for DIY application.
Why DTF is better than White Toner Transfer?
DTF (Direct-to-Film) and White Toner Transfer are both popular garment printing methods. However, there are several reasons why DTF might be considered better than White Toner Transfer:
- Print Quality: DTF typically produces higher-resolution prints with more vibrant colors and sharper details compared to White Toner Transfer. The white ink underbase in DTF enhances color brightness, while the specialized DTF inks result in smoother color gradients.
- Feel and Texture: DTF prints have a softer hand feel on garments, as the ink bonds directly with the fabric fibers. White Toner Transfer prints can sometimes result in a heavier, more noticeable feel, as they create a separate layer on top of the fabric.
- Compatibility: DTF works well with various materials and surfaces, including dark, textured, and synthetic and blend fabrics. White Toner Transfer may face limitations when working with certain materials, especially those with high polyester content or uneven textures.
- Durability: DTF prints often exhibit better washability and durability compared to White Toner Transfer prints. The adhesive powder used in DTF creates a stronger bond between the ink and the garment, resulting in longer-lasting prints.
- Lower Equipment Costs: DTF printers tend to be more cost-effective than White Toner Transfer printers, making the initial investment more affordable for small businesses.
- Easier Weeding: In DTF, there is no need to weed out the unwanted parts of the design before transferring it to the garment, as the adhesive powder only sticks to the printed ink. In contrast, White Toner Transfer usually requires weeding, which can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.
At Filljet, we provide a vast assortment of products, including DTF printers and maintenance supplies, along with essentials like DTF ink, DTF film, DTF toner, training and other items!